Isolée Western Store

Isolée Western Store
Last year saw Isolée (aka Rajko Müller) reintroduce himself with the exceptional We Are Monster, his first artist album since 2000’s widely acclaimed Rest. A dynamic collection of pristine micro-house selections, the album initiated a profound listening experience a lot of us had been craving for quite some time. Now that he’s back into our consciousness, Playhouse has dropped a compilation that helps introduce his older, less familiar work. Western Store takes us back even further to his outset when he was at the forefront of establishing the micro-house sound. Compiled by Alter Ego’s Jörn Elling Wuttke at the request of label Playhouse, the album sequences the Isolée twelve-inches randomly, which provides smoother, spacious transitions than a chronological mix would. His trademarks are widespread: deep bass lines, cavernous dub effects, dense kick drums, techno-friendly melodies and a cocktail of ambiguous sounds. The standouts are copious, but the dub-techno tag team of "Rockers” and "Surfers,” the Day-Glo bliss of "Lost” and the marriage of vocals and 4/4 on "Initiate II,” one of Müller’s best moments to date, triumph. The only oversight here is using Freeform’s epic "Reform” version of "Beau Mot Plage,” not the original, which no doubt feels out of place. Still, the track sits at the bottom of this comp, so it can’t tarnish this essential history lesson Playhouse have provided us with.

Was the success of We Are Monster what propelled you to do this compilation? The compilation is more due to the initiative of Playhouse, which as well made the choice of the tracks. I guess it’s a good moment to give a documentation of what has been released before, especially because it was only available on vinyl, and sold between 1000 and 1500 copies.

What took you so long to release a second album and how does Western Store speak for that gap of time? Besides "Lost,” all the tracks are from the period before my first album, so it describes more the time before the success of "Beau Mot Plage.” After Rest had been released, I moved to another apartment, then to another city. For a while I did not have my studio, and then pressure to do something followed. And the more time it took, the more pressure I felt, but in the end I didn’t care any more. When it became a professional thing I had to learn how to deal with it, and music is my daytime job now — that is the experience in We Are Monster, instead of the innocence and naivety on Western Store. (Playhouse)